Members of Parliament
The Vanuatu Parliament is noncameral and is currently comprised of 52 seats held by Members elected by universal suffrage within electoral system including an element of proportional representations.Every citizen of Vanuatu (ni-Vanuatu) who is at least 25 years of age is eligible to stand for election to Parliament subject to the conditions laid down by the Representation of the People Act.
Members represent and inform constituents. They need to know how the government system works in order to be able to help constituents. They bring many different skills to their job and come from many different backgrounds. Once elected they represent everybody in their area by keeping in touch with regular meetings and clinics. Some members use newsletters to keep in touch, attend community meetings, contact special interest groups and then build networks.
What Members of Parliament do?
Most Members can thus be viewed as having three roles that of parliamentarian, constituency representative, and party member.
Working in Parliament
When Parliament is sitting (meeting), MPs generally spend their time working in the Parliament. This can include raising issues affecting their constituents, attending debates and voting on new laws.
Most MPs are also members of committees, which look at issues in detail, from government policy and new laws, to wider topics like human rights.
Working in their constituency
Members provide a direct link between their constituents and the Parliament. In their constituency, MPs often visit their people, where local people can come along to discuss any matters that concern them.
MPs also attend functions, visit schools and communities and generally try to meet as many people as possible. This gives MPs further insight and context into issues they may discuss when they return to Parliament.
It is the constituents who pass judgment on the performance of Members of Parliament at each election. Members must prove themselves fit for the task of being their parliamentary representative. All Members who wish to make a long-term commitment to improving the governance of Vanuatu need to be dedicated to serving the interests of their electorates and proving themselves worthy of re-election.